Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 draft was considered the richest in memory at wide receiver. With stars such as Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr., the class did not disappoint and was in fact the best statistical rookie class in NFL history. The 2015 NFL draft boasts a similarly talented class at running back that hope to make their mark on a league that has been claiming their position ‘devalued’. Like every position this year, I’ve been ranking the positions by tier, but no one stands alone at the top this time.
Day One Plus Starter
These rushers can come in from day one and improve an offense as the lead back without being limited to running back by committee. No player is flawless, but the players on this tier are either good enough in every area that their value is apparent or are so good in one area or another that it mitigates flaws in other areas.
Todd Gurley, Georgia
Healthy, Gurley would easily be a top 10 player in this draft class. His power and speed combined with his vision and toughness have drawn comparisons to both Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson. In truth, he’s probably not either of those two, but it’s a good group to be drawing comparisons. Todd Gurley has the vision, speed, and power to be a lead back for a long time in the NFL, the only question has been his health. On that front, he’s received good news of late.
Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Another player that has benefited from medical check ups recently is Indiana’s Tevin Coleman. Like Gurley, injuries have been the primary factor for people questioning his abilities, but there are few home run hitters like Coleman. Boasting top tier speed and vision, Coleman dealt with a terrible offensive line that left him getting plastered in the backfield more often than most prospects. That didn’t stop him from putting up huge numbers despite playing through injury all season. Coleman is a plus receiver in addition to his rushing ability, and graded higher than many tight ends as a blocker which just cements his status as a top talent.
Melvin Gordon III, Wisconsin
An early favorite for mock drafters and Lions fans who were tantalized by his huge season and Barry Sanders comparisons that came from it, many people have cooled on Melvin Gordon as a prospect. That isn’t to say he’s a bad prospect, as his inclusion here shows. There are questions about Gordon’s scheme fit for many teams, the Lions included, due to his lack of receiving ability at Wisconsin and supposed lack of breakaway speed, but it’s the ball control issues that have kept many from falling in love with him. In many systems, Melvin Gordon can still be a top tier running back in the NFL.
Next: Tier Two - The Starters